In an interview with Radio.com, Gene Simmons, singer and guitarist for the Rock band Kiss, complained about the induction of Hip Hop artists like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run-DMC into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Simmons, who as a member of Kiss’ original outfit was recently inducted into the Hall, detailed his opinion that “if you don’t play guitar and you don’t write your own songs, you don’t belong there.” Downplaying his own induction, Simmons described the honor as “diluted.” “I have no beef with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” he said. “You go on with your bad self and get more Disco artists…A long time ago it was diluted. It’s really backroom politics, like Boss Tweed. A few people decide what’s in and what’s not. And the masses just scratch their heads. You’ve got Grandmaster Flash in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Run-DMC in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? You’re killing me! That doesn’t mean those aren’t good artists. But they don’t play guitar. They sample and they talk. Not even sing!”
Answering a separate question about the 2013 induction of the late singer Donna Summer, Simmons returned to his critique of the selection committee. “Donna was my next door neighbor for many years, I knew and liked her, she was on my  solo record,” Simmons said. “But if you asked Donna, ‘What kind of artist are you?’ do you think she would say ‘Rock?’ If you asked Madonna, ‘What kind of artist are you?’ do you think she would say, ‘Oh, Rock!’ So what they hell are they doing in the Hall of Fame? They can run their organization any way they’d like, but it ain’t Rock! It just isn’t! If you don’t play guitar and you don’t write your own songs, you don’t belong there.”
In the same interview, Simmons described his dissatisfaction with the selection committee’s decision to induct only the original members of his own band, overlooking both a guitar player and drummer in the current lineup. As a result, Simmons and Kiss have decided not to perform at the ceremony scheduled for April 10 at the Barclay’s Center in New York City.
In 2007, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted into the Hall of Fame as the first Hip Hop artists to receive the honors. According to the Hall’s website, Flash called the induction “a wonderful feeling.” “This is bigger than me,” he said. “This induction is total acceptance from one of the most prestigious music associations in the world…It’s a wonderful feeling to be remembered [sic] the architects that pioneered an idea that the whole world fell in love with. It is called Hip Hop.” Since Grandmaster Flash in 2007, Eminem presented the Hollis, Queens group Run-DMC with their induction honors in 2009. In 2012, the Beastie Boys were honored similarly as inductees. Most recently, Public Enemy was inducted as a part of the 2013 ceremony.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Chuck D described his reaction to the group’s 2013 induction. “It’s amazing to get the induction into the hall of fame now, given we never won a Grammy, never had a Rolling Stone magazine cover, and never had a Billboard top 10 single,” he said. “All the things that define success today, we never had. We had the influence, but not the awards to go with it. That speaks volumes about why you have to just do your thing and not worry about the other stuff. It comes when it comes.’’